Daily Archives: January 31, 2013

January in Review

The Site

I’ve got nothing.


Really, the site hasn’t changed.  WordPress.com hasn’t screwed things up in any new and unusual ways.  I still haven’t changed the look of the site.  No unusual honors or attentions have come this way.

I haven’t even got any new linking sites this month.  This is only the second time in 77 month in review posts that has happened.  Time to run with some “classic” Krusty…  I mean links.

So I am going to go with my usual ruse and run a poll and pretend that it is content.

And so it goes, month in review #77.  But those poll results will probably be in #78.

One Year Ago

I asked 12 questions for 2012.

I updated the About Page to its current format.  I am not sure it is any more useful, but it certainly is… uh… longer!

There was that whole SOPA thing.  Are we safe yet?  Somehow I think not.

I struck a couple of games from my watch list, as it seemed I would never go back to play them again.

I bought an iPad for our cats… judging by the pictures.

LEGO Universe joined the ever increasing list of departed MMOs when its free to play conversion failed to save it from extinction.

SOE gave us the subscription matrix for the EverQuest free to play transition.  As part of that conversion, EQ Mac was targeted for extinction as well. (Spoiler: It survived.)  Meanwhile, somebody had an EverQuest cocktail shaker on eBay.

Prompted by comments from others, I asked why those who sought an old school MMO experience were not out playing Vanguard.

Blizzard said they were going to be too busy in 2012 for a BlizzCon.  Speaking of Blizzard, I hit level 85 at last in WoW.

Turbine announced that their fall expansion would be Rider of Rohan.

There was an odd divergent current about Star Wars: The Old Republic, with some declaring it dead already (one month in) while others were still in “best game ever” mode.

I was starting to moan… more loudly… about how free to play makes an MMO focus heavily on cash shop content… to the detriment of the game in my opinion.  This was prompted, no doubt, by those wings.  Smed, on the other hand, was very happy about free to play.

In EVE Online the war against White Noise came to a close, leading to a quiet time in the north.  But a conflict with Raiden was looming.  during the lull, I recalled my first PvP death in EVE and celebrated that Garde drones now actually went *pew* *pew*.  Boring no more!

In Rift, the instance group was kicked off its server.  We regrouped on a new server.  We were also warming up and starting to work as a group again in the Iron Tombs and the Darkening Deeps.  That last was a struggle.

The Type 59 tank was pulled from the cash shop in World of Tanks.

And, finally, there was Pop Muzik.

Five Years Ago

January 2008 saw me writing all sorts of stuff that came back to haunt me.

I started off with a helping of silly predictions.

Then, with Tabula Rasa dead to me since open beta, I started wondering if there was any hope at all for a Science Fiction MMORPG.  This ended up being one of my most responded to posts ever with, in addition to all the comments, Potshot, Tipa, Lemegeton, Gooney, and even Massively following up with response posts. This post still gets a lot of views every month. (And yes, I do think there is hope, I just don’t know when we’ll get what we’re looking for.)

And, along with that, I wrote about five LEGO Video Games I would like to see made, another post that made the monthly list of most viewed posts on a regular basis a year later. [And I got a couple of the games I asked for!]

Then there was the start of the run-up to Pirates of the Burning Sea which, among other things, required me to invest in a new router.

In WoW, the Saturday night instance group was hitting Scholomance, Stratholme, and level 60, getting us to the Outlands only a year after Burning Crusade shipped!

In EVE Online, after spending millions of ISK, I managed my first Tech II Blueprint, then I couldn’t afford to build it. Ah, life in EVE.  I also got my standing past 8.0 with the Caldari Navy and spent time hauling trash.

And, finally, in Lord of the Rings Online I was able to pick up my Bree Pony, the 2007 holiday gift to founders.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll since 2007 or so, for which they have my thanks, and are still up and running and being updated, which makes them pretty rare.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in January

  1. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  2. More Than 2,500 Ships Clash in Asakai
  3. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
  4. A Journey of One Hundred Deaths
  5. What The Hell Do You Spend Your Station Cash On?
  6. Bosses and Gimmicks and Nostalgia
  7. Wielding The Dead Rat
  8. Surviving the French Connection
  9. The Fate of the Mighty Mackinaw
  10. What to do in EVE Online – A Summary
  11. Big Guns, Slow Tanks, and Crew Training
  12. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II

Spam Comments of the Month

Yes! Finally someone writes about adjustable coffee.
[Because screw that non-adjustable coffee!]

buy azithromycin for chlamydia
[Yeah, we’ll talk about that later]

your words are like advice for me
[Your comment is like a simile to me!]

Search Term of the Month

гейб ньюэлл
[That is “Gabe Newell” in Belorussian, according to Google. How I got on the first page of results for “Gabe Newell” is another mystery.]

mafia wars myspace inventory
[Mafia Wars and MySpace? A match made… somewhere warm.]

why noone talks on nfs world?
[The same reason people don’t talk on the freeway, you cannot speak directly and texting distracts you from driving.]

information about servel cycles and weather changes occurred during the year 2012 to 2013 at various places around the globe
[This term brings you to the graphic for my New Year’s post. Google remains a mystery.]

EVE Online

It looked like war… and then it didn’t… and then a bunch of capital ships got blown up.

And I missed it all.

Okay, I did go on one fleet op this month and was on two kill mails.  Plus I sealed my reputation with our new corp leadership by asking if there was a participation link after our rather over-long corp meeting this month.  So I have that going for me.

And I now have enough skill points that I need a Tau grade clone, which runs 30 million ISK.  That just reinforces my aversion to frigates and cruisers.  They are cheap to lose, but when I get podded it puts 30 million ISK on top of the price.  Won’t somebody save us from this regressive tax on the most successful (by at least one measurement) players in EVE?

Need for Speed World

I still play this a bit.  Actually, for about 8 minutes every day.  I do the gem hunt, which gives you a prize every day when you complete it.  But it says right on the prize reward tab that the prizes get better every consecutive day you complete the gem hunt.  I am testing this.  I am currently past the 30 day mark.  Expect a report on this some day when I am really bored.


Do I even play this game any more?  Do I even play fantasy MMORPGs any more?

Evidence is starting to suggest I do not.

Expect a long and angst ridden post at some point laying the blame squarely on Blizzard and World of Warcraft for destroying the genre.

That’s what you’re supposed to do when you hit this point, right?

Or is SOE to blame for ruining EverQuest?  Or for making EverQuest II?  Or the NGE? I can never remember.

But expect something once I figure it out!

World of Tanks

The instance group, or most of it, has gravitated to WoT, which is something of an “old man’s shooter” to my mind.  I like shooters, but when it comes down to it, I have never been very good at the run and gun and bunny hop routine, and my skills have not gotten better over the years.  So a tank shooter, where you move slowly… unless you are in one of those damn T-50s… and things like cover, aim points, and line of site matter fares well with me.

It is also light, can be played in small doses, and is fun as a team… though we have to start working more like a team.

Coming Up

I have a post brewing about the iPad.  I have had one for a year now, so it is probably time to explore how I thought I would use it with compared to what I actually ended doing with the thing.  And I will probably insult people who make 99 cent apps again.

Something will likely happen in EVE.  It always does.  I’ll get some new tanks I bet.  And some email to post about.

Meanwhile, the drought of posts about me actually playing a fantasy based MMORPG… there was exactly one this month… will probably continue.

Milestones: In with Wizardry Online, Out with Pirates of the Burning Sea

Wizardry Online is now a live, full fledged member of the SOE stable of games.


While it doesn’t really bring back the spirit of the original Wizardry for me… and really isn’t my cup of tea… it is now part of the line up, free to play if you want or as a subscription or part of SOE’s All Access Pass.

Some find me... disturbing

It was tough just getting past this screen…

It remains to be seen if this title will bring a lasting dungeon crawl experience or if their concept of “permadeath” will be a compelling feature. We shall see whether it lights a fire or languishes in the shadow of SOE’s other fantasy MMORPG titles.

Stropp has been in there for day one fun, if you are looking for a report on that.  He does mention that the “connecting” issue, that so many people have arrived here searching for, appears to be SOE completely lacking any sort of informative “you’re in the login queue” messaging.  You just sit there “connecting” until it is your turn.

Meanwhile, Pirates of the Burning Sea is taking its leave from SOE.


Flying Lab Software will no longer be the developer and SOE no longer the publisher of this title. The following announcement went out to those of us still on their mailing list:

Ahoy there!

As you may know, Pirates of the Burning Sea (PotBS) will be leaving SOE’s family of games at the end of the month and setting sail with Portalus Games. Portalus may be a new name, but the people behind it are veterans of Flying Lab who love the game. They have banded together to form a new company whose sole focus is PotBS, and will continue running, developing, and expanding the game into the future.

I’m personally very excited about Portalus and I’m looking forward to where they’ll be taking PotBS, but it will be as a player, not as a member of the development team. I’ve had a lot of great moments in the development of Pirates, and while the details of these moments are wildly varied, they all revolve around the same thing: interacting with you, the players. We decided to build an MMO because we wanted to have a more direct relationship with our players, and PotBS came through in spades. I’ve enjoyed going out, and meeting and talking with so many of you, and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for the world.

I want to thank all of you for your support, and if one day you’re sailing on the open seas, and you meet a grizzled old Pirate who talks about the old days, think a kindly thought for me. Then give him a broadsides and take his ship!! See you on the Burning Seas!

Russell Williams
– Co-Founder Flying Lab

Accounts can be migrated to the new company, which takes over today. The SOE servers will go down at 10:30pm PST. Instructions on how to migrate your account are on the Portalus Games web site.

While Potshot and I were there at launch and before with the pre-boarding pass (and once again adopting the French faction), the game never really stuck with us.

The French have the most attitude

The ship to ship combat was very good. It was about all you could expect from such a game and then some.


Most other aspects of the game fell flat for us however. Ship boarding combat was dull, the economy was convoluted, the strategic game was broken, and even finding ship to ship battles was unsatisfying. In less than a month we felt adrift in the burning sea, rudderless and uninterested in where the current might take us. And so we left the game, though it sailed on.


And while I always intended to come back and check on how things had progressed after our short time in the game, it never came to pass. There are always more games to play than time in which to play them.

As with Wizardry Online, the future remains to be written. Will this be a rebirth for the now five year old game, or has it merely been moved to hospice care where it can die quietly?